Studies in Syriac Theology

By Sister Therese Maria
In the first week of August we had classes with Chorbishop Seely Beggiani, rector of the Maronite Seminary in Washington D.C.  We covered an array of vital themes in Syriac Theology such as: God- Divine Mystery and Divine Intimacy, Creation and Sin, the Incarnation, Divine Revelation, the Redemption, the Holy Spirit and Divinization, the Church, Mary, the Mother of God, and the Mystery of Baptism.  
These classes were insightful as they further opened our eyes to the hidden mystery of who God is as “Father of Lights”, and expanded our hearts in praise and gratitude as we learned more of God’s “passionate” love for us and all of his creation. Chorbishop Beggiani constantly pointed out how these ideas are expressed so beautifully in the Maronite Liturgy, the Sacred Scriptures, the hymns of Ephrem and the writings of James of Seroug and other Syriac writers.
Below are two excerpts found in Chorbishop’s notes on God, Divine Mystery and Divine Intimacy quoting St. Ephrem and the Morning Office (Safro). These quotes reflect our Maronite tradition of praising Christ the Light who has rescued us from the darkness and filled us with his light.
In his Hymn of the Church, No. 36, Ephrem offers thanksgiving and praise to Christ the Divine Light:
“Give thanks to the Creator of the light wherein is depicted the heavenly Light; give praise to the Maker of the Light that is a symbol of the Light of our Savior!”
In the “Hymn of Light” the Morning Office declares:
“The Light of the just and joy of the upright is Christ Jesus our Lord.
Begotten of the Father, he manifested himself to us.
He came to rescue us from darkness and to fill us with the radiance of his light.
His glory shines upon the world and enlightens the very depths of the abyss.
Death is annihilated, night has vanished, and gates of shoel are broken.”